In cave in Borneo jungle, scientists find oldest figurative painting in the world

By | November 11, 2018

The New York Times reports:

On the wall of a cave deep in the jungles of Borneo, there is an image of a thick-bodied, spindly-legged animal, drawn in reddish ocher.

It may be a crude image. But it also is more than 40,000 years old, scientists reported on Wednesday, making this the oldest figurative art in the world.

Until now, the oldest known human-made figures were ivory sculptures found in Germany. Scientists have estimated that those figurines — of horses, birds and people — were at most 40,000 years old.

Researchers have found older man-made images, but these were abstract patterns, such as crisscrossing lines. The switch to figurative art represented an important shift in how people thought about the world around them — and possibly themselves.

The finding also demonstrates that ancient humans somehow made the creative transition at roughly the same time, in places thousands of miles apart. [Continue reading…]

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